Prep Football: West Rowan 33, NW Cabarrus 6

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 28, 2009

By Bret Strelow
MOUNT ULLA ó The return of Jon Crucitti was just part of West Rowan’s new look.
Wearing navy blue tops with Columbia blue numbers, the Falcons displayed impressive balance in a 33-6 home win against Northwest Cabarrus.
West coach Scott Young unveiled the alternate uniforms, which arrived in June, during a team meeting Friday morning.
“We did a good job of keeping that under wraps,” Young said. “When they were delivered, they were delivered to home, so I never did even bring them to school.
“They loved them; the kids went nuts. I’ve been here 12 years, and we’ve never had any alternate jerseys. I’m just thankful for the school, the A.D., the principal and the boosters club that we were able to get them.”
Crucitti was an immediate factor in his 2009 debut, and running back K.P. Parks rushed for 274 yards on 22 carries before leaving for good with nine minutes left. He scored three times, and quarterback B.J. Sherrill threw a pair of touchdown passes in an efficient outing.
Crucitti, an American Legion baseball standout who didn’t participate in enough state-recognized practices to be eligible for the Falcons’ season opener, hauled in a 56-yard reception on the second play from scrimmage. Parks had gained 11 yards a snap earlier.
“We wanted to run the first one between the tackles to K.P. to see if we were getting two high safeties or one high safety,” Young said. “As soon as we knew we were getting one high safety, we were going deep.”
Parks finished the opening drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, reached the end zone on a 71-yard burst up the middle to end West’s next possession and capped the scoring with a 20-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
He praised the line work of Rodney Cline, Jairahmai Robinson, Tim Pangburn, Charles Holloway III, Davon Quarles and tight end Patrick Hampton following another stellar game against Northwest. Parks, a four-year varsity player, has rushed for 951 yards on 109 carries and scored 14 touchdowns against the Trojans.”I can’t say enough about the O-line,” Parks said. “Them boys give it their all every time, and (assistant Joe) Nixon gets them right. They’re so big, I can just hide behind them, keep my low center of gravity, stay low and move my feet.”West, which limited Northwest quarterback Jeremy Cannon to seven completions and three interceptions in 25 pass attempts, was more effective through the air.
Crucitti kept his feet in bounds and made a fingertip catch in the right corner of the end zone for a 6-yard score early in the second quarter.
Sherrill went 5-of-5 passing for 90 yards as the Falcons (2-0) built a 20-0 advantage, and Crucitti was the target on each of those throws.
“We’re going to gameplan to stay as balanced as we can,” Crucitti said. “We’re going to attack with K.P., then we’re going to go to the air. I’d like to think I’ll be a pretty good part of that, and hopefully we can keep rolling.”
KaJuan Phillips’ 11-yard touchdown reception enabled West to take a 27-0 lead into halftime, and Sherrill finished with nine completions in 11 attempts for 127 yards.
Crucitti, who totaled six catches for 99 yards, played QB on the series that followed his touchdown. He ran for 13 yards and completed a 10-yard pass to Sherrill before firing an interception near the goal line.
With the Falcons backed up late in the first half, Crucitti uncorked a 43-yard punt out of his end zone.
“First of all, it feels good to be in a little different color jersey,” Crucitti said. “It’s a little something special with my first game back. I was a little disappointed after not being able to play last week. To get the opportunity to come out this week made it that much more special.”
Cannon threw two interceptions late in the first half ó Dominique Noble picked off a fourth-down throw and a hail-mary try ó and sophomore end Maurice Warren recorded West’s only sack.
The Trojans (1-1) scored midway through the third quarter, when Cannon connected with Grant Keyes from 4 yards on fourth down.
Trailing 27-6, they moved to the West 24 thanks to a penalty against the Falcons’ punt return team. Eric Cowan intercepted a pass in the end zone on the next play.
“The O-line gave me good time,” said Cannon, who threw for 65 yards and rushed for 48. “They brought a lot of pressure from the outside and didn’t allow me to escape the pocket. I was kind of forced to throw, but it’s all right. The O-line did great. I thought they did good against the defending state champion defensive line.”
The Falcons flexed their muscles on a night in which they also made a fashion statement.
Young promised Monday that he’d have a surprise later in the week.
“He said he had something special for us,” Parks said. “At first you’re always thinking bad, like extra running or something, but he said this one was a good one.”